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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seven Jewish Children

Here is a bit of the text of Seven Jewish Children - a play for Gaza, by Caryl Churchill.
Tell her, tell her about the army, tell her to be proud of the army. Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her their names why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldnt she know? tell her there’s dead babies, did she see babies? tell her she’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Tell her they did it to themselves. Tell her they want their children killed to make people sorry for them, tell her I’m not sorry for them, tell her not to be sorry for them, tell her we’re the ones to be sorry for, tell her they cant talk suffering to us. Tell her we’re the iron fist now, tell her it’s the fog of war, tell her we wont stop killing them till we’re safe, tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policemen, tell her they’re animals living in rubble now, tell her I wouldnt care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I dont care if the world hates us, tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her.
A full .pdf of the text can be found here.

I don't believe in censorship, but I do believe in debate. I agree that there are perfectly good reasons why this text might be viewed as upsetting, be construed as inflammatory, finger-pointing, unfair. I think that view isn't necessarily one for censorship, it's the view the play invites. That's what makes it powerful. Churchill wants debate, and she's gotten it.

I'm happy to see theater can still have that power. I wonder, though, if it's really a testament to the persistent power of a play, or yet another example of the magnetic effect of this particular struggle.

1 comment:

SMLois said...

As a part of World Theatre Day today, Cambiare Productions in Austin Texas is live-streaming a staged reading of 7 Jewish Childrewn at http://www.cambiareproductions.com/live.html